Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 2, 2013

Features of Pahinui Crater
Features of Pahinui Crater

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

One of 9 (nine) newly named Mercurian Impact Craters, Pahinui, has intriguing Collapse-looking Pits surrounding its Central Peak. Pahinui Crater ha been so named after the Hawaiian musician Gabby Pahinui, a key figure in the 1970s Hawaiian Renaissance and master of the "slack-key guitar", a style that originated in Hawaii.

This image was acquired by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft as part of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)'s High-Resolution Surface Morphology Base Map. The Surface Morphology Base Map covers more than 99% of Mercury's Surface with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Images acquired for the Surface Morphology Base Map typically are obtained at off-vertical Sun Angles (i.e.: high Solar Incidence Angles and therefore low Sun shining over the imaged Local Horizon) and have visible Shadows so as to reveal clearly the Topographic Form of many Geologic Features.

Date acquired: July, 31st, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 220635824
Image ID: 575089
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 28,30° South
Center Longitude: 146,90° East
Resolution: 139 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 77,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 12,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 22,5°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 99,9°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16903) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mercury), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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